Madagascar's dilemma: If there is no rain forest, then there are no lemurs
Lemurs are prosimians and are part of a unique variety of animals that is indigenous to the island of Madagascar. The locals call lemurs 'forest spirits' because of their awestruck red and yellow glowing eyes when light is cast upon them in the night. It is important to protect their natural habitat to prevent the animals themselves declining as the rainforest around them is doing.
According to the WWF, around 90 % of the original natural vegetation of Madagascar has been destroyed due to deforestation and slash-and-burn agriculture, which means that the habitat of the lemur is fading away before their eyes. The consequence is hard, but true: If the forest disappears, then the lemurs go along with it. Aside from this, the primates are also threatened by illegal hunting, which is again also on the increase.
Upkeep and breeding – Tierpark Berlin is proud of its large number of lemurs
Within the framework of the European preservation breeding programmes (EEP), Tierpark Berlin fosters pairs or breeding groups of a total of seven lemur species, whereby the red and black and white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, black lemurs and red-bellied lemur most commonly form packs to breed. With one of the largest lemur collections in Germany, the Tierpark actively and successfully makes a contribution to the conservation of the endangered prosimians.
Just as important: Support for on-site conservation in Madagascar
Tierpark Berlin supports the Iles Radama Nationalpark, which was established in 2007 on the Sahamalaza Peninsula, in the form of a personal membership of the primate curator Dr Andreas Pauly in the Association Européenne pour l´Étude et la Conservation des Lémuriens (AEECL). This is the last refuge for the turquoise-eyed black lemur and the Sahamalaza sportive lemur. The donated funds are used, among other things, to finance a research station, to encourage reforestation or to pay game rangers.